Using an Online Dictionary for Identifying the Meanings of Verb Phrases by Chinese EFL Learners

  • Lingling Li Department of Literature and Communication, City College of Dongguan University of Technology, Dongguan, P.R. China
  • Hai Xu Centre for Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou, P.R. China
Keywords: online dictionary, <i>Macmillan English Dictionary Online<i>, verb phrases, meaning identification, dictionary use, dictionary skills, entry structure and information


This article reports on the results of a study which investigated the use of an online dictionary by Chinese EFL learners in identifying the meanings of verb phrases. Thirty-two students with English as major subject participated in a meaning determination task with and without the help of the Macmillan English Dictionary Online (MEDO). Introspective and retrospective questionnaires were used to establish the participants' perception of the usefulness of the online dictionary, and how they used the online dictionary to search for their needed information. The results of the study show that learners improved in doing the task after consulting the online dictionary, but they also encountered some problems which led to incorrect choices. It is suggested that dictionary skills training should be provided, and improvements to online dictionaries should also be made.